I’m sure you’ve seen the memes all over social media (how could you not). Its undeniable that Nollywood culture has surfaced and become a steppingstone in today’s popular culture. Nollywood refers to the Nigerian cinema film industry, it is the second most famous industry after Hollywood and produces over 2000 movies a year. The origin of the term dates back to the early 2000s and can be traced to an article in The New York Times.
The popularity and viewership of Nollywood films have grown across African and the rest of the world, especially in cities with a considerable diaspora population. The diaspora is constantly growing with African natives, migrating for better work and education opportunities, there is an estimated 54% of Nigerian migrants living in the USA and 10% in the UK. Since Nigeria gained independence the number has gradually increased.
Nollywood has played a massive role in consolidating the cultural heritage of Nigerian society to the diaspora, many Nigerians and Africans as a whole have learnt a massive amount about the culture through watching Nollywood movies. Some (ok maybe most) Nigerian moves are exaggerated and well known for its eccentric scenes and “over-acting” but most storylines don’t stray far from the truth. Relatable story lines sit closely with those who identify with the culture, from family dynamics, tribal, social and even political matters, project the all well-known Nigerian values. And connect us back to our roots. Some people even find watching Nollywood movies as an easy way to learn and understand the language, including its much popular slang (pidgin).
Just like its music scene, Afrobeat’s, it’s fair to say that the Nollywood industry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, with further reach, innovation and hopefully budget, it will continue to grow. Netflix has extended its platform to include Nigeria and on its UK platform there are over 40 films available to stream.
Kiwi&Yam, an urban streetwear brand that aims to embody multicultural Britain and youth rebellion, has incorporated Nollywood into its design, creating a link to everyday fashion (as seen below in the Nollywood Homage T-shirt). The brand is heavily influenced by pop culture and draws inspiration from Western Africa, with the use of uniquely printed fabric such as Ankara and Kente.
The brand was founded in 2015 out of the need for cultural representation amongst the youth in the UK and diaspora. In a recent shoot the brand channelled the Nollywood culture and emphases how big part of it is in influencing today’s fashion and style. The images depict the often told story of two women, ready to take their revenge.
See images below:
Shot by: @Jedidahm_
Model: @wurasalvador, @misiafrica
Styling and Direction: @misiafrica
Words by Misi Africa